When you leave a familiar environment behind and plunge into some different habitat, you get the chance to learn many things which you could not have learnt in the familiar one. You get the chance to explore a different domain of the world. You learn about people in a way that no book or school assignments would have taught you.
You get the deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. This is the whole idea behind a student exchange program. It teaches a student how to take responsibilities and respect the differences. Students get to understand the complexities of the world while learning leadership skills and gaining self-confidence.
Keeping all these aspects of an exchange program in mind, DPS Sushant Lok invited a delegation of 2 teachers and 9 students from Saint Joseph School, Ambert, France.
The French students were in the national Capital to learn and experience a culture, which is totally different from theirs. They lived with Indian families, who volunteered to host the students. Indian students who are learning French at the school and are good at it, were allowed to volunteer so that the French students do not face any trouble while communicating with them. They temporarily became a part of the families they were staying with. The French students experienced Indian lifestyle and culture and also experienced a totally different schooling system; exposing themselves to a divergent routine.
During their stay, the French students and teachers visited various heritage sites in Delhi such as Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun Tomb. They also went to see the Taj Mahal in Agra and learned Garba and Vedic Maths. They were taught different things, which they found easy and fun, like
Rangoli making. Nathalie Cavagna, one of the teachers, who was visiting India for the second time found the country has changed and for the better. “I was here two years ago. I think it has begun to change. Now it is cleaner than before,” said Nathalie.
Philippe Cluzel, a Fine Arts teacher, was more excited than others as it was his first visit to India. In his words, “India is the biggest country, I have ever visited. Though the driving rules are strange here and if given the chance I would not be able to drive. I liked the country, its culture and rituals.”
He also thinks that Indian schooling system needs to focus more on practical aspects than the theoretical ones. And the teachers-student ratio should be less. He hopes to visit the country again.
Nine students who were a part of the delegation seemed pretty excited too. They liked the country and learned a lot of things. However, they had some complaints too.
Kerbourch Juliette, a 14-year-old student said, “We enjoyed a lot. But the things which we did not like are pollution and the spicy food.” They found the visit to be a fruitful experience, which they will never forget.
When asked what were the difficulties foreign students faced during the stay, vice principal Veena Sangar said, “They haven't had many difficulties, but it is hard to believe. They are being polite perhaps. It always takes some adjusting.” She also informed that as a part of the exchange program, Indian delegates from the school will visit France in June next year.